4 copy

Khushi Parisara failure

between the possibly poorest village (Alvedande)

and the potentially richest village (Gokarna) of Uttara Kannada

STARTING POINT

Khushi parisara considers that the reasons behind the excess of malinya parisara do not result from the high population density, but from density of ignorance (avidya); it is not also because there is bad or ill-will, but because of un-mindfulness and unawareness.

In order to reduce and eradicate malinya parisara is just necessary to update or provide knowledge. Natural goodwill, care and investment will bring the resolve for remediation.

We can only find and implement solutions once we understand the causes of deterioration and act upon them. When we see the suffering, harm and dosha we have caused unknowingly and unwillingly, our generous nature will immediately develop the right action. Gradually, the needed corrections are made.

Khushi Parisara projects foster the population’s wise up on how to find individual, collective and global solutions putting them into practice.

A protective approach to environment leads all of us to examine our actions and see their actual result, recognizing that certain habits are harmful. Then we will want our basic goodwill to be more than just an idea, we want to apply it scrupulously in every situation possible, and practice it. Inevitably, that goodwill will have a noticeable impact.

Based on this, it was all about to develop new good practices, efficiently adjusted to the precarious environmental context.

We sought to close the loop that can lead to a sustainable change: information – knowledge – awareness – mindfulness – practice

It has positively proved possible to generally develop these conceptual guidelines except with the local bodies and local administration. Public reacted as positively, as administration and power bodies reacted negatively.

Now, without a paired action (public/governors) no action is bound to be sustained, more sustainable it could be.

We got several lessons out of it – some targeting ourselves, our internal work and network (that we are processing and adjusting), some targeting our outer work, desperately impossible to be processed.

A. ALVEDANDE

1. BACKGROUND

Alvedande is a small village (at Kumta backwaters) predominantly composed of Gabit community (fishermen).

It is our home village, where we are installed.

For that our work there should have been a success and still it was remarkable a failure.

It was certainly difficult in the beginning given its socio-anthropological profile.

Actually, the population was (and still is) fully disregarded by the local bodies as the most uneducated, unaware, unqualified, outright, illiterate, etc., etc.. However, this fishermen community with which we have started our work was ready to prove that they could be capable of managing their extremely difficult conditions optimizing them in a very innovative way.

And, against the general disregard of its capabilities, we believed that, assisted with good sustenance, they were powerfully capable to tackle their severe environmental issues (sanitary & waste) in the best way, apt to become a model in Uttara Kannada, triggering further action in all District.

Then, with Khushi Parisara leading the finest actions and planning several projects together, the local youth started to become aware of the potential of their networking with those stakeholders qualified for helping and supporting their commitment for a change, for a better life.

2. OPENING

The village was busting garbage everywhere – despite some of it being burned early morning in the choola, some of it dumped on the drain, on the river, on the seashore or on the ocean. Also, as everywhere else, the open defecation in the village is a rule.

This is very much a common pattern shared among all of us. But also, as some of us have done somewhere else, here we have decided to give a try to clean up around – and keep clean. We put hands up and we created Khushi Parisara to tackle the so critical environmental issues at stake.

3. RAISING

a) We have approached the Gram Panchayat of Kalbhag to find a solution to the general pollution and we requested to urgently spread, by the most efficient means, information on Plastic & Waste Rules among the polluting stakeholders  involved

  1. fix a warning board at the most endangered zone of open defecation.
  2. provide updated list of households with toilet, of those who had applied for toilet, of those with given fund for building it but did not build yet, and the update of numbers of each house
  3. solve to the lack of available water for healthy management of sanitary conditions

The Gram Panchayat did not answer to any of our requests, nor even replied.

b) Then, Khushi Parisara tried to trigger local communal intervention, firstly to solve the massive waste problem in the village, secondly to tackle major sanitary issues – water, drain and lack of toilets.

Starting from identifying the issues to tackle with the community, assessing the social, cultural, economical difficulties at stake, Khushi Parisara worked on building people’s self-confidence and motivation, providing information, sharing knowledge, projecting, supporting, triggering action, etc.

A youth group, The Aryan Boys, with extremely efficient and diligent leaders stirring the varied exploits, started prompt and enthusiastic activity, deciding the line of action in several very participated meetings.

Immediately after, because here women are the most exposed group to the local plaguing sanitary issues, Khushi Parisara encouraged the involvement of girls also, and the Minuguava Nakshatra group joined the endeavour, whose leaders exceled also in their performance.

The work was developed in various steps:

  • First it started with a global clean-up of the village on the segment along the river fixing slightly improvised bins – which proved not be suited to their function as the cows ate all their paper board …
  • Next, in several gatherings it was explained to women the dangerous issues around the “neo-traditional” trash disposal system (burning, dumping, immerging).
  • At the same time, in all the meetings held Aryans Boys, Minuguava Nakshatra and women were unanimous on their need for toilets, reporting abundant cases of reiterated dismissed requests from Gram Panchayat due to odd circumstances as land ownership, obsolescence of registers and varied administrative or cognitive misunderstandings.
  • We have made a door-to door approach to try to solve this crucial issue – on the same go we were reinforcing information on proper trash management.
  • And, to reinforce confidence, enthusiasm, learning and planning, we have invited distinct personalities willing to convey proper information, encouragement and support.

Subhash Candra, from the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Kumta Field Station, has kindly come to explain to the Aryan Boys the importance of caring (and how) for their so critically threatened environment and the developmental benefits the whole community would grow from it.

A specialist from the Centre for Sustainable Technologies (ASTRA), professor Monto Mani, came to help all of us in understanding the possible solutions to build toilets where allegedly there was no space to make them. He was discussing and explaining to all the varied possibilities.

Taluka Health Officer, Ajna Naik came for explaining basic sanitary issues, namely how to manage the building of toilets, the disposal of waste, the serious problems related to its burning. The group listened attentively and interested, asking many concerned questions to which Dr. Ajna provided length information and encouragement, easing some apparent difficulties.

To improve the self-esteem of the community

  • we developed more viable bins for collecting general waste at all the village and they were fixed on several clean-up days. Also bins for glass items only.
  • We provided and fixed a road signboard at the entrance of the village
  • We projected a deck for improving the self-image of villagers and promote the village itself with an innovative venture – waiting for approval
  • We initiated a project to tackle the main Fish Market issues

4. MATURING

By the strong bidding and deed of 2 youth groups – the aryan boys and the twinkling stars (minuguva nakshatra)– the hamlet was coming out of a long period of general socio-anthropological impoverishment sustained by the heavy disregard of local bodies.

They become involved in the self management of some difficult issues ranging from sanitation to waste management, aiming at tackling human and natural resources, transportation (of people and of fish/goods), stocking and marketing.

The youth was ready and betting for the local development on various fronts: construction of eco-toilets, piping of drinking water, refitting the fish market and its environment, creation of a dock for unloading fish, of platforms on the bank of the river for the fishnet repair, and of a wooded deck for easing the long path from the village to the fish market.

They wanted Gram Panchayat backing for:

  • Building eco-friendly toilets on the bank of the river, on the beach side, on the drain
  • Efficient action on drinking water and drain issues
  • Road repair
  • Fixing platforms on the bank of the river for fishnet repair

In March 2016 we informed Kalbhag GP that the solid waste management within Alvedande Village was, just for an experimental period, taken care of by the residents, with the support of Khushi Parisara. On their behalf we requested GP to collect long years of uncollected trash at 3 main spots (on the backwaters of the estuary between the bridge and the samudra, same portion but on the road, and on the west side of the village adjacent to Biklo M. Toreskar house), begging

that, once this waste was properly collected, boards warning about the illegality of trashing and burning should be placed by GP and easily noticed there.

5. FALLING

GP did not reply nor took any action.

Prime Minister was called for an intervention. No reply.

The youth found itself doing, week after week, the removal of waste from the bins with the support of KP, and definitely start feeling abused on their good wish for a consistent sanitary change face to the complete irresponsiveness and inaction of GP. When the experimental period was over the waste went accumulating again in the village. The situation went fully deteriorated during monsoon.

Almost one year later, Kushi Parisara brought to the attention of GP that their violation of rules regarding sanitation and waste management were dangerously impacting on health and environment by the severe gathering of uncollected waste on streets, roads, drains, grounds, banks of river, seashore, due to non-existent collection. And we requested to:

  • Instruct Gram Panchayat workers and elected members on Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Plastic Management Rules, 2016, complying to them.
  • Notify Gram Panchayat members to create the penal framework for Plastics and Solid Waste Management violations (viz., littering, dumping, burning)
  • Notify immediately all the population, by all available means, that littering, dumping and burning waste are offences under SWM Rules (2000 & 2016), fixing warning boards at the most critical places.

To enforce the S&PWM rules in the area we demanded the intervention of TP, CEO, DC. They were all impotent.

Gram Panchayat has to lead the way being the first to comply with the rules, showing and teaching people the right thing to do, without exempting itself from doing the right thing, because “everyone is doing the wrong thing”!

KP intensely and consistently prepared the human and resource field for the implementation of good practices on S&PWM in the small area of Alvedande but without the paired action of the Gram Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat, Zilla Panchayat and District Commissioner, all the work done was wasted and the change aborted. Their indifference, lethargy, irresponsiveness and breach of the rules dragged the same all around, and destroyed the enthusiasm, motivation, confidence.

6. ASSESSMENT

Next step has to start by identifying who is responsible (person, department, office, corporation, entity, etc.) for the implementation, violation, mismanagement and non-enforcement of rules, in order to be able to draw prioritized remediation with the liable entity, namely:

  • the violations – and enforcement – of Plastic law in the district, at source
  • massive marine trashing (terrifically boosted by monsoon, washing up all waste dumped in drains, roads, banks)
  • policy for marine trash prevention at UK
  • landfill assignment
  • chronic open toilets
  • absence of GP of waste management plan and its hazardous mismanagement

What remains to be solved?

  • plan for SWM
  • penal framework for Plastics and Solid Waste Management violations
  • Thorough clean-up of the indicated massive dumping places
  • chronic open toilets
  • allotment of legal landfill

 

B. GOKARNA

1. BACKGROUND

Opposite to Alvedande, Gokarna is a big village. It is potentially the wealthiest village of UK, be its multiple resources properly managed.

Khushi Parisara, extremely concerned with the tourism growth at Gokarna with its extensive use & throw practices, the massive CRZ encroaching, the huge tourists/visitors OD, the large garbage incineration, the complete water bodies heavy pollution, etc, got prepared to make a move in Gokarna wastes management and sanitation. A Catalyser Committee of determined volunteers and stakeholders was created for designing a Shuddha/Shubha Gokarna Project 

In Gokarna, due to floating population, the waste management is a bigger issue than in small towns. The water channels, creeks and tirthas of Gokarna are filled with solid waste, and the place became an endemic abode for mosquitoes and its pathogenic spreading. Moreover, the blockage of creeks and improper sewage, have contaminated the drinking water bodies of the village.

The Catalyser Committee acknowledged this current situation where, despite the comprehensive system of rules provided, the information and caveats given by State and Central authorities, garbage is dumped and burned everywhere, drains are clogged with trash, plastics are given at shops, open defecators enjoy khushi sittings, landfills grow and burn day after day.

Then, we have put the best of our good wish and capabilities designing an Action Plan to establish a fundamental “Trash Change” in the way people view their relationship with trash, at all places, at all levels, building a healthy community by a clean environment, through simple everyday actions. It was all about to develop new practices, efficiently adjusted to the precarious environmental context, implementing positive activities focused on education, community and governance actors.

Because our DC manifested his interest for the development of the Village, we tried to articulate our work and join efforts on that direction. We have stressed that though our DC may be primarily interested in investing Gokarna as a “psychagogic” tourist destination, as far as the seashore remains an OD, dumping and incinerating place, the drains are clogged with waste and mosquitos, the rare bins are incinerating points, with the pilgrims trashing all the time, everywhere … there is no shuddha environment for any modality of yoga, except karma and bhumi marana yoga. Within these conditions no scatter Yoga offer can promote the place.

However, if local strong stakeholders with the Catalyzer Committee, together with DC, ZP, CEO, TP, KSTDC, KSPCB, Temple trusts, bet on Gokarna  as a  green pilgrimage place, preparing it to be part of the Green Pilgrimage Network, that might bring an effective and durable change with a broad range of benefits, environmental at the top. For that, Gram Panchayat should be able to make a change on its current line of (in)action.

GP and local administration involvement, support and monitoring would be crucial to solve the seemingly insuperable difficulties. Only a robust drive could drive through.

2. OPENING

In view of this we appealed to DC to:

  • Allot land for a legal landfill
  • Notify Gram Panchayat to provide immediately the broad and correct collection of waste, stopping its open incineration, fixing warns about the crime of trashing and burning
  • Apply for the incorporation of Gokarna with the Green Pilgrimage Network

We demand Gram Panchayat President to call for a general meeting of GP to fix the bylaws for

  1. fines and penalties applying to the following offences:
  • Giving plastics to public
  • Littering
  • Burning whichever trash
  • Dumping trash anywhere, especially in the drains
  • Failure to segregate garbage at source
  1. Fees for garbage collection
  2. to provide urgent adequate training for sanitary workers (public toilets, street sweepers, trash collectors included).

 

3. RAISING

Our first step to raise waste literacy in Gokarna consisted in requesting a meeting with Gram Panchayat members to prepare, convey and trigger their participation and strong involvement on the following basis:

  • Each of the 34 elected members for GGP is close to its own people, being whole accountable to reach the entire Gokarna community (/ies).
  • More than just being close, they are responsible for it, as much as for raising the required resources for its betterment.
  • At this crucial moment, where a radical change is required in the so embedded waste practices, the GP members shall lead the way.
  • If until now they may have shown to be unable to make the required movements, and if at this time a deep involved participatory movement is required, it is from them that the awareness has to be raised, fostering the needful understanding on their community.
  • The reconfiguration of current psycho-social and ethical set-ups might start with them, honourably invested of their civic responsibilities.

The following steps, synchronized if possible, or slightly decaled, would comprise of

  • Waste wise consciousness program at all schools
  • Waste good practices mindfulness package at all households
  • Waste management liability memo brought to all shops, temples, hotels, etc.

Recognizing the need to address waste management through education at all levels, from school children to college, from shopkeepers to householders, through a grassroot participatory approach, we tackled it on different fronts:

a) we prepared a teachers training program and 14 Modules for Modelling Pro-Environmental Behaviour at School 

b) at the same time, we prepare a waste wise consciousness program for informal education at household level, networking with all relevant stakeholders (inclusive of SHG, Trusts, NGOs, etc)

c) DHO was requested to allow the Gokarna Doctor to train a task force of 10 people for a 3 months door-to-door consolidating program.

d) Along with this, we are trying to create a consistent team of Ragpickers for the routing of the different waste streams.

4. MATURING

Then we have reached a point where we indeed need the complementary part for this work: the corresponding institutional good practices – collection, segregation, transportation, composting, etc. That’s why the Catalyzer Committee requested GP to Manage trash efficiently outlining a comprehensive plan for Gokarna SWM with a tentative timeline fixing:

  1. elaborate the trash system
  2. map trash collection zones (samudra, roads, streets, footpaths, no access points, etc.), groups, and broad timings
  1. implement immediate segregation at source (dry & wet) with adjusted collection
  2. place enough bins, covered and embedded, in tactical points
  3. fix abundant boards about fines and penalties
  4. register with GP all local waste generators and respective collection fees
  5. register with GP Ragpickers Team (train, value and empower – aadhar card, children education, medical facilities)
  1. reinforce warning boards at public critical places: dumping & burning are offence, etc.
  1. Train conveniently GP sweepers and other sanitary workers
  2. Respect trash pick ups timings to eliminate the habit for people to dump
  3. Monitor composting or methanation of wet waste by commercial food providers, schools, bulk waste generators (bhojana) & other public wet wasters

The Catalyzer Committee planned:

  1. Organize full Press Coverage and Support for the project
  2. Request residents and rikshaw walas to monitor and promptly report any dumping/burning
  1. Closely monitor the GP management of ayyappa & shivaratri pilgrims and other massive events
  1. Keep regular audits to ensure that all sectors were applying the procedures correctly

In the meantime Khushi Parisara with the Catalyzer Committee promoted several actions targeting a deep change in the public trashing habits, namely:

  1. we have offered to GP an experimental bin for the center of village (yet not fixed) and we have fixed one at Ramatirtha
  2. Clean Shivaratri Plan – we have organized an outreach program, aiming to reduce the general waste and the discarded plastic bottles with the following actions:
    • distributing handbills, posters, pamphlets,
    • making loud announcements on waste and plastic waste,
    • exhibiting an inspiring statue
    • conceiving and fixing “emergency bins” to collect plastic bottles
    • requesting temples to do not distribute, nor accept, plastic bags on their premises
  3. Clean Ramanavami Plan – outreach program, aiming to reduce the general waste and the discarded plastic bottles with the following actions:
    1. distributing handbills and pamphlets at the toll
    2. fixing posters
    3. fixing “emergency bins” to collect plastic bottles
    4. placing temporary bins to collect general waste
    5. requesting temple to do not accept, plastic bags on their premises
    6. fixing banners

 

5. FALLING

The muddle of our venture – and an extremely serious one – is that all these efforts became fully wasted since, after motivating and training people on individual good practices, there was no corresponding institutional good practices – no proper collection, no proper segregation, no proper transportation, no proper composting, etc. Then, the long acquired Fundamental Right to Litter got still more consolidated on the public and private practices.

and thus,

  • at the end of the (foreign) tourist season, the seashore became a dumping and burning place (for which we have warned GP in advance – letter)

 

6. ASSESSMENT

Next step has to start by identifying who is responsible (person, department, corporation, entity, etc.) for the implementation, violation, mismanagement and non-enforcement of rules, in order to be able to draw prioritized remediation with the liable entity, namely:

  • the violations – and enforcement – of Plastic law in the district, at source
  • massive marine trashing (terrifically boosted by monsoon, washing up all waste dumped in drains, roads, banks, creeks, etc)
  • policy for marine trash prevention at UK
  • landfill assignment
  • removal of secondary waste collection bins (50% of total) which leads to burning waste and massive dumping in waterbodies
  • chronic open toilets
  • clog of drains with mosquitos breeding
  • absence of GP of waste management plan and its hazardous mismanagement

What remains to be solved?

  • planing waste management
  • taking a zero plastics stance
  • draw a sound and sustainable Gokarna Sangam remediation project
  • implement a Joint Program for Marine Trash prevention and remediation
  • mobilise a Task Force for Gokarna waste awareness program
  • enforce composting of wet waste for bulk wasters (Bhojana + HSchool + Hotels + Santhe market)
  • Fix suitable bins for secondary collection
  • Notify shopkeepers to keep appropriate bins and do not litter on roads or drains

ENDING POINT

We wanted to drive an intense, vast and deep collaborative endeavour with all the stakeholders involved, and not having to fight a daily fight with the ignorance, indifference, lethargy of local bodies and administration.

We can do (and we did) outreach programs, we can remind local bodies of their duties– listing and calling their attention for them -, we can make clean-ups, we can make surveys, we can motivate corporations for eco-friendly behaviour, for re-sourcing resources, for prioritizing sustainability and inclusivity, we can explain, propose, remind, we can teach, we can call press meets, we can create and install eco-collecting points.

BUT we cannot implement the laws, approve policies, we cannot allot funds for environment protection, for waste remediation. We CANNOT force government organisms (GP, TP, CEO, DC and administration offices) to lead the way on complying to our great waste management rules, showing to general public the way to follow.

Indeed we could not. Our actions were blocked by their inaction.

Was that because India is becoming richer and more capable of affording the weighty costs of inaction than those of action?

Unfortunately, concerning (waste) pollution there is no time for slow action, for slow governance.

TURNING POINT AHEAD?

 ↖ RETURN 

Post navigation